Fuel for Tardebigge

After yesterday’s phenomenal catch, I was very glad of the stretch of cruising afforded us this morning. We had moored with friends in Central Birmingham and set off from here heading towards Tardebigge. First though, there were the three tunnels: Wast Hill, Shortwood and Tardebigge, and about four hours of lock free boating.

I took up my usual perch at the pointy end, and set to with a chopping board, sharp knife and two bowls. My Rosehip Bread called for the hips to be de-seeded which turned into a messy, marathon task. It also involved a fair bit of nipping in and out of the boat as when we entered the tunnels I could not see a thing. Given that freezing the hips had turned the softer ones to a mushy state I am not convinced it was such a good idea, as removing the seeds did not prove easy. Next time, I shall make this without freezing the hips first to compare. If it does prove to be as time-consuming and messy for you, all I can say is that the end result is so worthwhile so do persevere.

I had just managed to get the loaf into the oven when we arrived at Tardebigge Top Lock, which was pretty much perfect timing.

The end result gave more of a fruit loaf than a soda bread, but it was absolutely delicious slathered with butter. Thoroughly recommended. Will definitely be making this again.

Rosehip Bread

100ml orange juice

140ml water

100g raisins

100g seeded & chopped wild rosehips

30g melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

300g plain flour

200g granulated sugar

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

75g pine nuts or sunflower seeds or some such thing

Preheat oven to 170c/Gas 3. In a large bowl mix together the orange juice, water, raisins, rosehips, butter, vanilla and egg. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir in sugar and salt and then fold into wet ingredients. Finally stir through pine nuts. Spoon batter into a well greased 2lb loaf tin. Bake for 50 – 60 mins. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped on bottom when done. Cool on rack. Serve in buttered slices.

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